December 1, 2014

Dee Gann's Santa's

Local artisan, Dee Gann, is the magic behind her fanciful Santa's. My shop, Scentimental Gardens, aka SG Geneva, is the fortunate recipient to present her vintage inspired heirlooms
Every face is handcrafted by Dee, the beard, accruements, the costume.........scattered among antique elements sourced and collected for over 25 years

Asking Dee if I could visit her workshop, a total of three rooms, and interview her was a treat for me. You can only imagine how my face lit up when I entered one of the rooms, akin to discovering Geppetto's workshop.
Imagine a niche career that one can do from home setting your own hours, having fun amassing a collection,  antiquing for vintage furs, costumes and miniatures, culminating in squeals of joy brought to others!
Meet Dee, enjoy her story and photo's (mostly poor ongoing issue)
My Dad owned an antique shop and as a child I watched him turn others "trash" into treasures, antiquing is in my blood. 

I started doing craft shows at our local mall 30 years ago. The Christmas shows were always the best, so I eventually gravitated towards Santa's. A friend came by and saw my first Santa then encouraged me to pursue this adventure. When I see those early versions I want to die of embarrasement!

Being self taught, I spent a lot of time in libraries studying Santa's from Old World countries, folklore and customs. Extensive research on clays and compositions with much trial and error to follow.

Sheep's wool is now sourced from all over the world to craft my beards

My inspiration comes from worn velvets, metal trims, actually any fabric or trim that reveals a long ago life.
(Dee asked that I include a call out for victorian ladies waist coats, getting very hard to find)

I knew this was my destiny when I received a call from Better Homes & Gardens in 1990. They wanted to feature a profile on me! The first thing she said was, "We received your letter and your timing was perfect." Little did she know that when I mailed that letter I silently prayed, "Lord, please let my timing be right."
I knew then that I had God's blessing and that has made me feel that my job holds a certain responsibility.

Yes, she makes these faces too
And she makes all the clothing and SHOES!
After several features in BHG, my business grew in a hurry! From that 
I received offers and worked with four companies who reproduced my work


Walking through this room housing her collection of finds, and fabrics was magical for me. Dee, you could have left me here for days on end exploring......

My business card says "Find the child within you, and you shall dance to the joys around you" 
What I love best about my career are the sweet compliments from people about the joy I brought them or how certain embellishments provoked a long ago special memory
Hope you can come by the shop and visit, we are filled with the best of Dee's collection, all originals.
Too far to visit? Drop me a line, we can send photo's

                                                     Have a joy filled December!



  1. Incredible, what a gift she has. Thanks so much for sharing. fondly ~lynne~

  2. Debra,
    What beauty Dee achieves in her life like Santas. How did you resist the Santa with the Union Jack and a brass London buckle on his coat. Oh my, what a treasure.

  3. WOW. they are breathtaking, talk about works of art!! And to have that passion as she dose is always a beautiful thing.

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  5. OH-H Debbie, thank you for the Blog and kind words !!! It it such a privilege to have my Santas in your shop where everywhere you look you're surrounded by beauty and creativity ! There's NOTHING that compares :) Merry christmas!

  6. She is so gifted! What beautiful work. xo


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